You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. — Genesis 50:20
From time to time we face adversity and no one is exempt. Bills are due, but there’s no money to pay them. A person is fired from his or her job. A beloved family member or friend dies. What about losing our home to a disaster like many are experiencing in the aftermath of Hurricane Hosea and Irma. I want to encourage you with some reliable truths backed up by the words and promises of a God who sees and knows about all our troubles.
First, God is good and loves you! The Lord is good to all, and His compassion is over all His works” (Ps. 145:9). This is a foundational truth; everything else hinges on this one truth! Always remember, Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever,” and He is always going about doing good (Heb. 13:8).
I am always a fan of practical advice- second, surround yourself with a trusted community of believers. We need God, but He also designed us to need one another. I am so grateful for the body of Christ. The second part of 1 John 5:4 says: “And this is the victory that overcomes the world—our faith.” It doesn’t say “my faith”; it says “our faith.” We need each other. Sometimes we just need the body of Christ—Jesus with flesh on. Be careful during vulnerable times in your life that your supports are “trusted believers”. In Luke 8:50-55, Jesus was about to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead, but the unbelievers ridiculed Him. He made them leave, and then the power of God was activated in that room through faith and Jarius daughter was raised from the dead. So, be a committed part of the community of believers with strong faith not just good intentions.
Next, Do Not Fear and never, never, ever give up! Renounce fear—be delivered from it. Fear is not your friend. Fear is the opposite of faith. Fear paralyzes you, while faith propels you. Doubt your doubts and trust your dreams. Fear not! He is with you, beside you and in you. And as 1 John 4:4 says, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Also, as you press on in life, put your hand to the plow and don’t look over your shoulder (Luke 9:62). Keep looking straight ahead. God is not finished with you yet. He who began a good work in you will complete it (Phil. 1:6).
Finally, you are not a victim; you are a victor! Trials and trauma happens in life, but you must not be its victim.” I am here to tell you I am a victor in Christ Jesus, and so are you! Jesus always leads us into a triumphant processional: “Now thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ and through us reveals the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14). You are not a victim; you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!
I pray that whatever season of life you are in, you will cling to the truth of Ephesians 6:10: “Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” And when you have done all … stand! How we handle these situations can show us a lot about our faith in the Lord, not in a judgmental way but as self-aware insight. In Genesis the account of Joseph who was loved and favored by his father, but despised and rejected by his jealous brothers, shows us how to keep a soft and teachable heart during our most difficult days. The example of the life of Joseph from the pit to the prison to the palace is a powerful model of beauty from ashes.
Some obstacles have the ability to take the wind out of us or to knock us off our feet, but we also have the opportunity to rise above them. We can cry, complain, and live in misery because of our struggles. Or we can react like Joseph–allowing God, in his timing, to bring something good out of our circumstances. Are you allowing God to help you land on your feet?
“The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever. The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:10-11 (NIV)